The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty recently announced the recipients of its 2013 Lakota Educator of Excellence Awards, naming Amy Smith, 2nd grade teacher at Endeavor Elementary, and Dean Hume, journalism teacher at Lakota East High School, as this year’s honorees.
The awards will be presented at the Community Foundation’s annual dinner celebration on Thursday at the Marriott Hotel Cincinnati North from 6 to 9 p.m.
The “Lakota Educator of Excellence Award” was created to provide an opportunity for the community to celebrate the hard-work, dedication and talent of local educators. The selection committee, consisting of Lakota administrators and community representatives, select the recipients from a pool of deserving nominees.
The Community Foundation provided information about both winners:
Those who nominated Amy Smith indicate that there is no teacher more deserving than she to receive the “Educator of Excellence Award.” Amy is described as a compassionate and caring teacher who goes above and beyond for her students. She is often spotted at her students’ sporting events and dance recitals, and has been known to call parents at home after school hours just to update them on something their child accomplished that day at school. Amy works to ensure that each of her students’ needs are met, whether that means enhancing curriculum for students who excel in a particular area or setting aside individual time for a student who might be struggling. Beyond academics, Amy prepares her students for success in life by teaching them empathy and compassion for others, and by building their self-confidence. As one parent writes, “Amy is the kind of teacher that every parents hopes and prays their child will get.” The heartfelt nomination letters are a testament to the lasting impact that Amy Smith has made on her students, their parents and the whole Endeavor Elementary community.
The majority of nominations for Dean Hume to receive the Educator of Excellence Award came from former students who, under his tutelage, were on the staff of Spark, the award-winning student-run news magazine at Lakota East High School. Dean founded Spark 21 years ago and has since been the faculty adviser, although he takes no credit for the publication’s success. Instead, credits accolades like the publication’s 10 National Pacemaker awards and 18 All-Ohio rankings to his talented students. Dean is known at Lakota East for his unorthodox approach to education. One student describes her first day in Dean Hume’s class, saying, “He shut off the lights and climbed onto a table…he explained that as our time in the Journalism program went on, the lights of the world would turn on so we could see it for what it truly is.” Former students comment on how he saw in them what, oftentimes, they didn’t see themselves and pushed them to fulfill that potential. Dean would stay after school when his students needed to work on a story and would be there with them on deadline weekends when the pressure was on to put out another excellent issue of Spark each month. Dean Hume is truly committed to his students. As one nominator put it, “It is fitting that the newsmagazine he created is called Spark because that is exactly what Dean Hume finds in each of his students…a spark that he then fans into flame with unparalleled dedication.”
In addition to the award, honorees are presented with a $2,000 grant for the implementation of a special project or program at the their school. For more information about the dinner, call 874-5450.